Thank you very much Kathy.

Sounds like another "best practice" suggestion to the board to inform the electorate.  We do the voice vote from the floor.  I would love to change it to Australian Ballot.


-----Original Message-----
From: Kathy DeWolfe <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Apr 28, 2008 12:12 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: School Budget Vote - Round 2 help please

Good morning Jennifer et al,


The law is not clear.  While the school board is required under 16 V.S.A. §563 (11) to “prepare and distribute annually a proposed budget for the next school year according to such major categories as may from time to time be prescribed by the commissioner”, the law is silent about requirements for additional information if the budget fails the first time.


In towns that vote budgets from the floor, the board must discuss proposed changes to the budget prior to warning the next budget vote in duly warned school board meetings which the public can attend.  In towns that vote by Australian ballot, there is a public hearing required even under the shortened warning periods allowed by 17 V.S.A. §2680 prior to the vote on the failed budget.


While it is in the interest of the school board to have an informed electorate, the board has had to discuss it proposed changes at its board meeting(s), and the board will also have the opportunity to give both details and rationale to the voters at the special meeting before the vote.


Until a court has considered this issue, we do not see a clear requirement to distribute written materials other than the warning.


Best, Kathy


Kathleen  S. DeWolfe

Director of Elections & Campaign Finance

Office of the Secretary of State

26 Terrace St.

Montpelier, VT 05609-1101

(802) 828-2304

Visit us at, click on Elections


From: Vermont Municipal Government Discussion Network [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Jennifer Hanlon
Sent: Saturday, April 26, 2008 8:23 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: School Budget Vote - Round 2 help please


Thank you for your replies so far!   So far this is what I know.

1) The warning for the special meeting for the revote was posted in a timely manner. I don't have a problem with that.

2) We vote on the total budget amount and no other special items.

3)  My questions lie with the revision to the budget between the first presentation which failed to pass, and this second modified budget the school board is presenting.  The question is "Shouldn't the voters be presented with a full breakdown of the budget expenditures, in writing, several days prior to the meeting/vote?"  How can we analyze and have time to comprehend the differences between the first budget and the second if we don't have the figures in front of us to see what was trimmed or moved where?     Aren't we entitled to have more than a few minutes to review the figures, listen to the school board presentation, and then vote on the most expensive part of our taxes?  How can we formulate intelligent questions without having adequate time to analyze the information?

Thanks again in advance for any insight into this.  I have scoured the website and can't find anything on there about it.   It seems to me that legal requirement or not, a complete budget report should be presented by the board prior to the meeting and vote as a matter of full disclosure and transparency and would be a "best practice" policy of the board, at minimum.

Jennifer Hanlon

-----Original Message-----
From: TownClerk Guildhall
<[log in to unmask]>Sent: Apr 26, 2008 7:38 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: School Budget Vote - Round 2 help please

As a matter of course, aren't ALL special town and school district meetings required to be duly posted and for all budget figures and proposed warned articles to be distributed to the voters 10 days before, just like for regular Town Meeting?   When I get over to my office, I'm going to look at the statute myself!


On Fri, Apr 25, 2008 at 3:29 PM, Jennifer Hanlon <[log in to unmask]> wrote:


We are voting as a town on the school budget again on Monday.  It failed to pass the first time.  However there is no new proposed budget that has been distributed to the voters yet.  I find it hard to believe that there is no requirement that the voters must have the new proposed budget within plenty of time prior to the vote so they can study it and make an intelligent decision.

Can someone please point me to the statute or any other directive pertaining to a revised school budget going back to the voters and any requirements that the voters have access to the figures prior to the meeting and vote?

Thanks a bunch, on a beautiful Friday afternoon!

Jennifer Hanlon
UTG Supervisor